Meet The Other Members of The Alternative Fashion Mob

I have been one busy blogger lately!  Not only have I been interviewing folks for this blog, I have also been interviewing (via e-mail) the remaining members of the Alternative Fashion Mob and the designers who will be featured in this year’s Alternative Fashion Week Finale…WOOT!  It has been so much fun learning more about these talented fashion mavens.
Soooo, in the final weeks before the big event on April 26th at Strongwater (400 West Rich in Franklinton) I am going to pimp these artists!
But first, I will pimp the finale!
fashion finale
*****NOTE: VIP TICKETS ARE PRE-SALE ONLY! PURCHASE NOW TO RESERVE YOUR RUNWAY-SIDE SEAT! (General admission tickets are available for pre-sale and for purchase at door.)

TWENTY unique Columbus designers.
TWENTY breathtaking fashion collections.

SURPRISE celebrity host!

DOORS at 7pm

Directly after the fashion show, the venue will turn into Dance Party USA, featuring local DJ, Mikey Papageorgio!

Red carpet photos all night by We Are Glitterati

Plus, this year we are proud to pair up with Stylinity, an awesome “style stage” that showcases YOUR style and lets your social circle know where to buy it!

Full bar & food, serviced by Strongwater Food and Spirits!
Basically all the fashion and fabulousness we can squeeze into a giant gallery!
Columbus’ fashion event of the year!
See !!BRAND NEW!! collections on our runway from:

Kelli Martin for Anti.Label
Celeste Malvar-Stewart for MALVAR = STEWART & M=S + fcT: a collaboration
Esther Myong Hall for Torn Angel
Horacio Nieto for Arlo Menswear
Isolda Marie Meade for Isolda Couture
Katelyn Mary McClain for Katelyn McClain Designs
Betsy Stevenson for Elizabeth Ashleigh Designs
Ngockhanh Ngo for MADE by NGO
Oliver Peng Zhang for O.Z X Momo Lee
Jefferey M. Steele

Brandee Baboski Bailous for House of Baboski
Jennifer Felizardo
Shannon Kelleher
Brianne Jeanette for Synthetic Rebellion
Lydia Hopmann
Kathryn Margaret Hubble
Janus Koziuk for Glamazonjayne
Crys Darlingfor Label Yourself
Keyona Gore for Fashion Elements

VIP: $25, reserved seat! LIMITED, PRE-SALE ONLY
General Admission: $10, standing room admission.

Alternative Fashion Mobsters
As I have already featured mobsters Kelli Martin of anti.label and Rachel Murdock, I think it’s only appropriate that I introduce you to the rest of the amazing folks who have been working on putting AFW together since last fall.  That’s right only 5 people spearhead the second annual event!  They ROCK!!!!
Later in the week I will feature the designers for this year!
Ashley Arend

Little Tree Photography

Ashley Arend got involved with AFM/AFW because Amee BellWanzo invited her to join the group, as she needed help with maintaining the website and social media outlets.  Knowing that Ashley wrote a blog, Amee thought this would be something right up her friend’s alley!  Because Ashley knew a little bit about AFM and believed in what they were doing, she agreed to step up. Of course there was the perk of getting to spend more time with Amee!  A year later, she is certain that she has no regrets and is proud to call herself a “mobster.”

Troy Mueller PhotographyBetsy Stevenson, designer
Being a Columbus native (graduating from Upper Arlington), Ashley believed that there was a need and possibly unrealized desire for something like the AFM in Columbus. She felt that she was a representative of their target market, which included people who find fashion intimidating …too expensive, not knowing what is on trend and don’t know how to sew. Ashley believes that AFM can help anyone feel more comfortable with all of this and more!  She has learned how to create an affordable style, which she admits is a work in progress, rather than having no style at all!  Although she still doesn’t know how to sew or create her own clothing, she has become an AFM model, getting the opportunity to show off local designs.


Jennifer Tonapi, Photographer

Ashley is inspired by anyone who works daily to improve themselves, both spiritually and physically, as well as those that are willing to work to make Columbus a better place to thrive. Because she never wants to become stagnant in her personal growth, she surrounds herself with those who are continuously growing and improving.  This is pretty evident in her own background having obtained an undergraduate degree in Commercial Photography at Ohio University. However, she chose to go in a very different direction after graduation, getting her teaching license from Ashland University. During her four years of teaching high school language arts, she also obtained her master’s in education.  I’d say she definitely is not stagnant!


Sen Bai, photographerAaron James, designerAshley’s role with AFM is Social Media Manager.  She loves this job because it has allowed her to meet and work with many amazing and interesting people. Since our culture is obsessed  with social media, for better or worse, she realizes that her job is imperative for the AFM’s survival. Above all else, Ashley realizes that she couldn’t do this job without the support of her other AFM Mobsters.


Selfie by Ashley

Jefferey Steele

Matt Resse, photographer
Jefferey Steele is another of the founding Alternative Fashion Mob members.  Originally, he met designer Kelli Martin through a co-worker when the salon he was working for did hair and make-up for a runway show at her store, Black Market, a few years ago. They kept in touch, with Jeff doing hair and make-up whenever she had a runway show. Coincidentally, they were having a meeting about another project when she mentioned that she wanted to start her own fashion week. “I thought it was an amazing idea and needed to be a part of it. Alternative Fashion Mob (AFM) was officially started in November 2012.” He came on-board with AFM with his role being Style Director.  His responsibilities include coordinating all hair and make-up for events as well as photo shoots. He also finds models for the designers and for any “flashion mobs” that may occur. Finding photographers for various shoots as well as making sure that they are present at all events to document the “fabulosity” of the AFM is another of his reported duties.


Matt Resse, Photographer

Jeff has been in the hair business for 20 years, since attending Nationwide Beauty Academy. Currently, he works four days a week doing hair and make-up at CutNBlow Hair Salon On North High. Some of his favorite advice for working the in the beauty and fashion industries: “…if you want to be successful in the hair, make-up, and/or fashion business, you need to treat your peers and co-workers the same way you would like to be treated. Nobody has time for attitudes.”

Elina Khachaturyan, Photographer
Troy Mueller, Photographer
 In addition, he is a self-taught fashion designer out of necessity. Jeff says, “When I started making garments, it was because I was doing photo shoots of my own concept and needed certain things. I knew no designers at the time so I just started making things myself.” He is excited to be showing his very first collection at the 2014 Alternative Fashion Week Grand Finale Runway Show. More than anything, he just likes to create things and gets inspiration from random daily events and things he observes, both small and large.

In addition to all of his work with AFM and his day job, he has several events in the works. He worked on a photo shoot, providing hair, make-up, and fashion styling recently with Photographer Troy Mueller that will be displayed at Substance Boutique in the Short North for April’s Gallery Hop. He will also have a private reviewing of his collection from AFW 2014  at the June Gallery Hop in CutNBlow Salon; unveiling the photos from the collection shot as well as a 2-3 minute movie based on the collection. As if that isn’t enough, this summer he will be working on a 12-photo series concept with Photographer Matt Reese. After being approached by Matt, he jumped at the chance because they have worked together for years and he loved the proposed concept. No more can be said at this time but all will be revealed in the fall!

Elina Khachaturyan, photographer


Contact info for readers:

You can check out some of Jeff’s portfolio on his Facebook page.

Or stop in and see him at CutNBlow Hair Salon for your own styling needs!

1244 North High St Columbus, Ohio 43201; 614.824.1619

Amee BellWanzo

Mobster, Amee BellWanzo Photo by Matt Reece

Around for all of the brainstorming at kitchen tables and in livingrooms, Amee BellWanzo is the Mob’s Marketing Director and Event Planner. As she explains that chain that got her involved:

I am a rock musician, who started a charity called Columbus Rocks the Cure (CRTC), which stages rock shows to raise money to buy gas cards for cancer fighters in-need. I thought it would be really rad to add a fashion component to the rock shows, which led me into a conversation with Kelli Martin at her ComFest booth about showing a design collection… she helped me add a little fashion to all the rock at CRTC, and it was AWESOME… 

It only seemed natural for Kelli to recruit Amee for the AFW once they had worked together on this event and Kelli saw what an awesome event planner Amee is.

Columbus Alive People to Watch Photo Shoot Photo by Meghan Ralston

Along with pal, Kelli Martin, she was named to Columbus Alive’s 2013 class of People to Watch! But most importantly, she JUST passed her 6-years-cancer-free mark — Holy Moly! As a breast cancer survivor diagnosed at a very young age, she is happy to have come through the cancer battle with flying colors, and  proud to use her experience  to help others through CRTC. BECAUSE CANCER SUCKS!

Amee loves her day job in marketing at  Sudden Impact Marketing (a small local agency). Years of experience in this field have helped her do her part to execute AFM shows and events AND doing AFM events gives her a ton of experience to use at her job so it’s a win-win situation for her. She describes her style as: Anal retentive. Obsessive. Bulleted listed. A touch of ADD… but only when it comes to organizing for AFM/AFW.

But her other love is making rock music, most recently with bands Black Eyed Betty and Trachete. Rocking stages in Columbus makes her way beyond happy!  Being passionate about fashion and rock music seems to go hand-in-hand for her because they’re both important forms of creative expression. She couldn’t be more happy to be surrounded by all these creative fashion talents, and feels like she’s doing something to help amplify their voice in our fair city! The creative people of AFM – from the designers, to the stylists, to the artists, to the other event planners – are so inspirational to her along with making music with friends/bandmates. The more creative activities I can participate in, the more inspired I feel all the time!

In addition to AFM/AFW, she’s  REALLY excited that her super-rockin all-female band, Trachete, will be melting some faces during Alternative Fashion Week at the Face Melting for Fashion rock show! They’ve been busy, busy, busy  shopping online for killer outfits, and viewing inspiration boards from AFM’s awesome stylist, Ashley Wills! Amee won’t spoil the surprise, but says they might be taking some inspiration from the original Queens of Noise. Piquing curiosity, I’d say!

Rockin’ a Kelli Martin original! and styled by Rendevouz SalonKelli Martin Photographer


What current trend do you love? What trend do you wish would go away? What trend do you hate yourself for loving?

In order of above: I heart pantsuits, old rock t-shirts, and fringe (but not necessarily together). I wish Ugg boots and Crocs had never been invented. I kinda hate myself for loving cat eyes so much because I’m really bad at putting on liquid liner and it takes me an extra 10 minutes every morning. Yet I can’t stop myself!


We Are Glitterati Photo Booth at AFW 2013

What style describes you as a kid?

Umm… oblivious. Total tomboy.

What rockstar is your fashion spirit animal? (Or fashion muse)

Alison Mosshart. I have a girl crush. And Gwen Stefani. I’ve always loved her. Although those two lady rockers couldn’t be more different – which is kind of funny. I’m also kind of obsessed with Deap Valley right now. I guess I like a little variety in my life

With hubby, Chris BellFrank Tuttle Photo ExhibitCancer Survivors, Fighters and Supporters

What’s your favorite fashion era?

Right now, I’m really digging the ‘70s! But like, the rock & roll ‘70s with the leather & the fringe – not the gold lamé-clad disco ‘70s. (Although I’m not going to totally hate on gold lamé. I may have a kickass crop jacket fitting that description…)

Contact info for readers:

Friend her on Facebook… Just search Amee BellWanzo.










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